Protesters gather at the US-Canada border over the vaccine mandate
The United States and Canada both extended the vaccine requirement to include truckers last month.
NIAGARA FALLS, NY – The Rainbow Bridge on the American and Canadian sides was packed with protesters on Saturday.
“I can’t visit my relatives because of these warrants. I’m not vaccinated,” Frank Kolbmann said.
It was a cry from those frustrated with the vaccination requirements needed to enter either country.
“It’s beyond words that my own country won’t allow me to visit my own family. It’s BS,” Kolbmann said.
In October, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau began requiring the vaccine for federal workers. Last month, Canada and the United States expanded the rule to include truckers.
So some western New Yorkers started their own convoy traveling from Tonawanda to Niagara Falls.
“These warrants are unnecessary,” Jessie Scott said.
They did so to show their solidarity with Ottawa truckers who were protesting the mandate earlier this week.
On Saturday, New York State’s positive rate percentage was 5.7%.
Of the more than 12,000 people with COVID statewide, 1,190 of those cases are in Western New York.
Although the numbers are trending down, a critical care doctor from Kaleida Health explained what mandates for masks and vaccines also accomplish.
“I don’t think it’s entirely clear, you know, through other political channels or not, but on the part of the doctors and nurses who are in the hospital, we want to make sure that we have the tape to care for all patients in the community, not just COVID patients,” said James Hereth, attending physician at Kaleida Health.
As recently as Friday, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that New York state’s mask mandate would be extended through Feb. 10, adding that further improvements in COVID numbers would force them to revisit the rule every two weeks. .